Short Stories


I can fold myself forward against these winds.

I cannot stay with my head straight on.  It flops to the side to the back to the front.  My head has become dislodged from my neck.  This could prove problematic.  This could prove troublesome.  When speaking, if at no other time.  Still, my wits are about me and I traverse on.  I go forward through the winds.  The tallest buildings make a tunnel, which in mid-summer makes such a pillar of shade I welcome these inter-building travel breaks, but now mid-winter, there is only snow and ice and these winds buffeting at such a pace that I can fold myself forward against these winds and remain a foot, even inches above the ground and still walk, leaning as I am against the wind.  But now, my head hangs and dangles before me, and I wonder, how, how will I get to Annex B.  How will my papers be processed by the Cantominator 3000?  Will the mail android miss my delivery and will I be reported? Perhaps I can write the measures by hand, as they did in the days before machines wrote all the music?  Who am I kidding?  Everyone would quickly see the inferior and limited creative abilities of a human mind.  No instant access to all music ever made, no instant access to all rhythms and all rhymes.  Still, I cannot make the 4 pm mail drop at this rate, dragging my head like this along the cement.  So I must try.  I pull out the sheets of lyrics and hold them tight in the mad winds, as I inch toward the Annex.

“Crates of men.  Crates of men.
All is well.  To the end.”

I feel a ditty coming on.  I feel the security of the state is in my hands, for if I write this, the new national theme song, I could influence a generation of both people and machines…  Perhaps tilt the power back to the flesh and bones inventors…  The tune grows in my mind.  The tune is sturdy and meets ordinary mandatory national standards.  The tune is only a framework.  I begin to hear the orchestration.  I know I am not allowed to hear this, I am not allowed to orchestrate.  I try to quiet the symphony in my mind.  It is too loud.

“All are free in their own minds.  Bodies owned by the state.
No one can take away their minds.  Bodies owned by the state.”

I stumble to the first wall of three.  I rest for moments protected in a cul de sac of air silence.  No wind here.  I am propped up against the wall, my head held at odd angles by my arm furiously penning the notes, orchestrations of a symphony.  By now I know this is madness, folly, or mutiny.  In any case, it would take the uprising of a nation to free me from my now most ensured destiny of lock room medication.  Three weeks and a mind wipe is minimum I can expect, so I make the most of the moment of clarity, this moment of… bliss.  I write.  I compose.  I commit treason and shine a light on the beauty of my own mind – for no one to see.  The machines will catch this before human eyes ever see.  Perhaps the machines will steal my measures.  Perhaps recognize me for a genius and raise me up, like Lindenham.  Or kill me in a fear program, a “protection of the species and society” program loop.  All I know now is the endless refrain of violins, they sound odd, imperfect, almost as if they are played by humans in my mind.  Ridiculous.  Everyone knows how flawed and silly human art and music was.  Why would the rebellious thoughts of creative revolution cross my ordinarily ordered and obedient mind?  It must be this head, this dangling head before me.  Without it’s proper alignment, my thoughts are skewed.

I could let the papers go.  Penalty for loss of documents – 4 days in suspended animation.  But at least I could avoid the mind wipe.  I have perhaps another 30 seconds to decide before they come for me, I fear.

My grip loosens, the papers fly about the cement courtyard.  The only beings who will see my composition now are the Multicleen 40s.  They will pay no mind to the chicken scrawl of a human, to the notes and measures of the greatest moment of clarity of… my life.  This one forgotten human life.

I roll back into the wind.  I see the page-bot heading toward me.  I signal with my hand, as best I can, with my head dangling, such as it is.  Page-bot stops, heads back inside.  I inch on though the wind.  Perhaps there will be some, great wind exclusion that will allow one “loss of documents” to occur per lifetime.  Perhaps I will go home to see my fish even, tonight.  No one knows, but I named my fish Barney.  No one will ever know, for it is only in my mind.  And my mind is free.

copyright 2012 Susannah Raulino

The Stigma of the Wind by Susannah Raulino